Carbohydrates Nutritional Advice
Carbohydrates are among the most widely distributed compounds in both plant and animal kingdom. Carbohydrates are baldheaded or ketene derivatives of the higher polyhydric alcohol or as compounds that yield these derivatives on hydrolysis. Carbohydrates are divided into monosaccharide, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.
The major carbohydrates present are glucose, fructose, galaxies, lactose, sucrose, maltose, starch, inulin, hemicelluloses, pectin and gum Arabic.
The major functions of carbohydrates are:
- Energy source: - Carbohydrates are considered as least expensive source of energy to the body. Each gram of carbohydrate can give 4 calories of energy. Glucose is the primary source of energy.
Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen for later use and the final long term reserve as fat stored in the adipose tissue. It can be metabolized for energy and glycogen can be converted to glucose to maintain the blood glucose levels.
- Regulation of fat metabolism: Carbohydrates are necessary so that the fat metabolism can proceed normally. If carbohydrates are restricted then fats can metabolize rapidly forming ketone bodies that can affect the acid base balance of the body.
- Fiber: Dietary fiber includes cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectin, gums, mucilage, and lignin etc.Fibre results in looser and softer stools. It can reduce the length of time the waste remains in the colonFibre binds with bile acids and cholesterol thus leading to their excretion.
- Role in Gastrointestinal tract: Lactose can have regulatory roles as it can remain in the intestine long enough to encourage the growth of desirable bacteria which are involved in the synthesis of B complex vitamins.
Some of the newer varieties of carbohydrates are:
- Modified starch: Pregelatinised starch are those that are cooked and dried to give products that readily disperse in cold water to give moderately stable suspensions. This has led to their wider use in puddings, soup mixes, and salad dressings.
- Resistant starch: Resistant starch includes all starches that escape digestion in the small intestine. These are starches present in intact cells or partly milled or whole grains or seeds, uncooked potatoes or raw bananas.